Dysentery

DysenteryWhat is Dysentery?

Dysentery is an inflammation of the large intestine primarily characterized by having severe diarrhea and the presence of blood or mucus in the stool.

 

When this is not treated immediately, it could lead to a much worse, or a life-threatening situation, most especially if the person is not able to replace lost fluids from the body in an immediate manner.

 

Those living in industrialized nations, when suffering from dysentery tend to show mild symptoms.

 

There are people who would not even see their doctors but would recover after a few days. However, when doctors in industrialized nations ascertain and diagnosed a case of dysentery, it would immediately be reported to local authorities.

 

Two types of dysentery are:

  • Amoebic dysentery, otherwise known as amoebiasis. This is caused by the organism Entamoeba histolytica, which is much common in tropical areas.
  • Bacillary dysentery. This is caused by the bacteria Shigella, and is more common in industrialized countries than in the tropics.

 

What Causes Dysentery?

The primary cause of dysentery is infection. If either of the organisms that cause dysentery enter the body through food or water, then the risk for amoebiasis becomes very high. It is a condition that is highly transmissible. The disease spreads through stools or feces.

 

Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Dysentery

The symptoms for dysentery may vary since lighter symptoms are known to be exhibited by those who are infected with amoebic dysentery compared to those who suffer from bacillary dysentery. However, bacillary dysentery is treated immediately while amoebic dysentery takes a longer treatment.

Some of the symptoms of amoebic dysentery are abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, fever accompanied by chills, pain when passing stools, watery diarrhea that contains blood, and weakness. Bleeding in the stools is usually caused by ulcers that develop.

After symptoms disappear, the organism may still be residing in the body of the host. This also exposes the patient to the recurrence of the disease when the immune system of the host becomes weak again. However, when treatment is given to the patient, the organisms would not be able to survive.

People who suffer from bacillary dysentery may also have blood in their feces and may suffer from intense abdominal pain. Fever is also prevalent, along with nausea and vomiting.

Remedies, Treatment and Cure for Dysentery

  • Amoebicidal drugs and antibiotics. These are popular forms of treating dysentery but one must ascertain first whether the cause of the illness is amoeba or bacteria. This could only be done through a reliable lab test. Often, the stool is examined for the presence of any of these organisms. If determining the cause is impossible, the patient could be given a combination of antibiotic and amoebicidal drug.
  • Rehydration. Since having dysentery means that a person is most likely to suffer from diarrhea or vomiting, then the body also loses plenty of fluids in the process. Hence, rehydration is one of the best forms of therapy in treating dysentery. The patient must drink plenty of fluids. Orange juice and water are highly recommended. Buttermilk is also one drink that could benefit a patient suffering from dysentery since buttermilk can fight harmful intestinal bacteria and can help in establishing helpful organisms in the intestines.
  • Fasting. This has been one of the most effective methods of treating dysentery. Patient must fast for as long as the symptoms are present. Water and orange juice must be taken in. Small doses of castor oil can be given since this helps in removing offensive matter from the intestine expeditiously. It also lubricates surfaces where ulcers have developed.
  • Hot water bag. This must be placed over the painful abdominal area. This could help in alleviating the symptoms of dysentery.
  • Complete rest. Patients need to rest and relax the entire body. Small movements are enough to induce pain.

Friendly Foods

  • Fruits and vegetables. These foods help in detoxifying the body and cleanse the intestine whenever they pass through it.
  • Bael fruit is much notable and has been known to be very effective in treating both kinds of dysentery. The pulp of this fruit, mixed with jaggery (brown cane sugar) must be taken three times daily. In case there is chronic dysentery, roasting unripe bael fruit over fire and adding water and jaggery would be very helpful. This could also be mixed with dried ginger, and could also be given with buttermilk.
  • Pomegranate rind. This is also one effective remedy for dysentery. Boiling 60 grams of this in 250 grams of milk could help in relieving the disease faster. After about 1/3 of the milk has already evaporated, the entire mixture must be removed from the fire and must be administered to the patient in 3 equal doses, and at suitable intervals each.
  • Lemon juice. This is a very effective remedy for ordinary cases of dysentery. Just about a few peeled and sliced lemons must be added to 250 ml of water. This should also be boiled as well and it is important that the strained infusion be administered thrice daily.
  • Mixture of small pieces of onion, curd, tender leaves of peepal tree, coriander, and sugar, all in equal parts, is also a great remedy for dysentery. The whole mixture must be chewed slowly.

Foods to Avoid

Although one may eventually eat solid foods, it must be introduced slowly and carefully to the diet of the patient. Here are some more foods that one should avoid when suffering from dysentery.

  • Meat
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • White sugar
  • Alcohol
  • White flour products

Some More Useful Tips

In order to prevent the occurrence of dysentery, one must take measures to maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly especially when you are preparing food to prevent food contamination. Make sure that your hands are washed before and after you go to the toilet. In case you are in an area where the risk is high for dysentery, remember to drink water from a reliable source only. Cook food thoroughly and also beware of ice cubes since you do not have any idea what type of water was used in making them.

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